Jamaican journalist and author Barbara Blake Hannah has launched a new book, Through Red, Gold & Green Spectacles, which like her other books, addresses issues of Black history, Marcus Garvey and the Rastafari religion.
The book contains essays, columns and humour, as well as research on two historic Rastafari events — the Coral Gardens incident and the 1964 Mission to Africa in which a group of Government appointees and four Rastafari leaders embarked on a tour of African countries seeking to discover if they would welcome Rastafari immigrants. The book also contains articles on the creation of Kingston’s central meeting space, Emancipation Park, the in-the-news Bob Marley Beach, and a short story, The Story of Mr Jones, about the life of a Windrush immigrant. Chapters include views on reparations, early Rastafarians Count Ossie and Douglas Mack, Reggae films, and the early Legalise Ganja campaign.
Blake-Hannah makes a special plea for the appointment of a new Jamaican National Hero, not Bob Marley, but Marley’s Rastafari culture itself for the iconic global influence and reputation it has given Jamaica. Through Red, Gold & Green Spectacles joins Blake-Hannah’s previously published books Rastafari — the New Creation; two novels: Joseph —A Rasta Reggae Fable” inspired by the life of Bob Marley; and The Moon Has its Secrets, inspired by the life of Maroon heroine Nanny.
She has also written about her experiences home-schooling her son in Home: The First School — How to Grow a Genius Son. Growing Out — Black Hair & Black Pride in the Swinging Sixties is however the book she is best known for, in which she tells of the experience that made her famous when she became Britain’s first Black TV journalist in 1968 on the TV programme Today, a job terminated after nine months by racist callers and letters to the station. Blake-Hannah’s experience led to the opening of doors for Black British journalists and draws a vivid picture of life as a Black Caribbean immigrant to Britain.
She followed that book with Growing Up — Dawta of Jah telling the story of her life after she returned to Jamaica in 1972 and became a Rastafari and mother. Through Red, Gold & Green Spectacles is available only on Amazon.com.
“I publish all my books on the Amazon self-publishing facility,” Blake-Hannah tells the Jamaica Observer. “It’s hard to get publishers interested in works like mine, so I find I reach my audience better when they can order books from the bookshelf online, rather than trying to find them in bookstores in their cities or countries. When my books become popular online, publishers become interested.”
So far, her books have been republished by MacMillan Caribbean, Penguin UK Books and one translated and issued by a Serbian publisher. The 82-year-old Blake-Hannah adds, “My new book will appeal to people interested in Rastafari culture, and this includes people around the world. So far I have received interest from readers in South America, Japan and Africa, as well as the usual places like America and England.”